Amidst cheers from their classmates, an exciting drone race is under way. Divided into four teams, elementary students in the new Drone Academy co-curricular activity (CCA) enthusiastically compete at piloting their drones through an obstacle of circular racing gate goals.
With looks of concentration and tension on their faces, the drone pilots carefully maneuver their drones skillfully using their control consoles.
The new ES drone club students have been taken under wing by ES curriculum coordinator and CCA advisor Dr. Casey Koschmeder. He has helped our younger learners develop many skills as drone pilots. They have learned hands-on about flying drones safely, the parts of drones and controller, how to maneuver a drone in flight, taking off and landing, axes of rotation, and how to maneuver the drone through obstacles.
The Drone Academy has been offered at Concordia starting this school year. Members of the club meet once per week during each season.
“This is the first time we've had a drone program CCA in the ES and I've really enjoyed it,” shares Dr. Koschmeder. “The best moment of this CCA was when each student got to open their drone kits for the first time.”
“We learned how to do yaws, do flips, and we can do rolls, and sometimes we can do pitches,” says G4 student Zoey, who thinks the CCA is fun and helpful, as she has gained a deeper understanding about drones. “We will write what we know about drones after each CCA class. In the first class, I only wrote down two sentences. Now I write the whole page. So it is pretty much a gain.” She is also super excited that at the end of their last CCA class, students will be allowed to take their drones home!
Apart from teaching students how to fly a drone safely, the Drone Academy also helps students practice hand-eye coordination and home their sense of spatial orientation.
This CCA is the beginning of a cross-divisional project led by HS Mathematics, Aerospace Engineering and Big Data Teacher Dr. Peter Tong to spread an interest in drones and help develop students’ STEM-related skills. With the 21st century being a remarkable era for new technologies such as AI, self-driving cars and more specifically, drones, students at Concordia with an interest in STEM, regardless of their age, have a place to learn about the inner and outer workings of drone technology all the way from elementary school to middle school and high school.